Microsoft to support consumer versions of XP through 2014

Microsoft to support consumer versions of XP through 2014

Summary: As a result of a change to its support policies, announced on January 24, Microsoft is now commiting to support consumer versions of XP through April 2009, and under extended support through April 2014.

TOPICS: Windows

Just days before launching Windows Vista, Microsoft has decided to extend the support lifecycle for the consumer versions of its currently shipping Windows XP system.

Microsoft is now providing five years of "mainstream" support, plus five years of "extended support" for XP Media Center and XP Home Edition. Previously, Microsoft provided no extended support for the consumer versions of its XP operating system.

Consequently, consumer versions of XP are now covered under mainstream support through April 2009, and under extended support through April 2014.

As a result of the change, announced on January 24, Microsoft now provides the same number of years of support for business and consumer versions of Windows XP.

The main difference between mainstream and extended support is the way Microsoft treats non-security-focused hotfixes. Under mainstream support, Microsoft provides these kinds of hotfixes for free. Under extended, customers are required to pay for non-security hotfixes and must sign an "extended hotfix agreement, purchased within 90 days of mainstream support ending."

Topic: Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Silence from the ABMers

    Hmm, is that the sound of chirping I hear? Where are all those ABMers who swore that XP support would be dropped within a few months of Vista coming out? Hello? Anybody out there?

    Microsoft will provide XP security related hotfixes [b]for free[/b] until 2014. That would be approximately 13 years after it was released. Compare that to Apple who, in 13 years, has gone through 3 major, backwards compatibility breaking platform changes! One company supports you for free, the other company breaks all of their products and forces you to buy all your hardware and software all over again. I know which treadmill I'm happy I never paid for!

    Yeah, stay silent, I'd be too embarrassed to respond as well.
    • The blog was just posted...

      At least give people a few minutes to type out their thoughts.
      Michael Kelly
    • Were you expecting cheering and parties?

      [i]"Hmm, is that the sound of chirping I hear?"[/i]

      It must be birds outside your window.

      [i]"Where are all those ABMers who swore that XP support would be dropped within a few months of Vista coming out?"[/i]

      Considering that Microsoft was already known to be supporting XP until 2009/10 I don't know where you get the "few months" from unless you think 24 to 36 months is a "few".

      [i]"Microsoft will provide XP security related hotfixes for free until 2014."[/i]

      Good for them - it is good to see them playing the "long game" for once. It could also be a recognition that Vista will only sell through OEM and is going to be around for a lot longer than they originally wanted, just like W2K.

      [i]"Yeah, stay silent, I'd be too embarrassed to respond as well."[/i]

      Is this something new from you? It's never inhibited you in the past.
      • No, it's in his head.

        Bird brains ALWAYS hear chirping!
        linux for me
    • Misleading nick

      It's quite shameful that your nick is NonZealot when from your posting that you are clearly a zealot for the Microsoft platform

      Nobody said it was bad thing that MS extended XP support. It remains to be seen if MS really fulfill that promise
    • It's not Microsoft that worries me

      It's the hardware manufacturers. Micrsoft can support XP all they want or they can choose not to support it all. It makes not difference to me one way or the other. It's the hardware manufacturers that call the shots here. If my next video card has not XP driver that works with my current software (games) then XP is useless to me. That's completely out of Microsoft's control and I can't fault Microsoft one bit if a driver is not suitable for XP in the future.

      This problem I expect will rear it head much soon than 2014. I'd bet by 2010 this will be a problem.
      • Can't forget third party software

        The main reason I ended up having to switch my oldest machine (a PIII 550 mhz) to XP is because there was virtually no more software support for 98 SE as early as 2002.
      • Hardware support

        I wouldn't worry overmuch about hardware support-it will be driven by the free market, as always. If 25% of people are still using XP, can you seriously see, say, NVidia, saying "Well, we don't think that one fourth of the market is enough to worry about. When XP usage is down to, say, the same percentage of users as use alternative OS (5%?), then you might have reason to be worried. I don't see that happening until just about 2014-if that soon.
    • Wrong Focus

      I think you are confused. I don't remember seeing any discussions bashing/pro MS on XP support, how long it will be, all that. What I am interested, and a lot of others ARE interested in is will XP be available for sale AFTER Vista is released. Everyone knew support for XP was going to be around for a long time, but is XP itself (for sale)?

      Specifically, is Vista from Dell, GateWay, Leveno, etc going to be the ONLY option (except for sale and previous inventory machines) after Vista launches or will there be overlap where the customer can choose which one to buy on the same machine.

      As for embarassed, why would anyone be embarassed to reply to one of your posts? You are extremely predictable, even before reading you will have a non zealot bias towards all that is MS, makes it fun. You sure you aren't No Axe in disguise?


      P.S. Sorry, I made the XP/Vista comment above absolutely neutral, neither positive or negatative, simply asked the question, making it hard for you to call me an ABMer. No a ABNer, well, couldn't resist.
    • Put simply. Microsoft is lying.

      They ended support in the past before 12yrs and they will do it again.

      Oh and don't expect an apology when they do.

      WinMe released in 2000 and support ended in 2006. That's six years.

      This is more likely the actual time you will get.

      Why would you believe a company who has such a history of lying as Microsoft?
    • Treadmills

      yeah, two treadmills to pay for. I decided not to pay for it, when it is free.

      I think you are also embarrassed, to get such a poor bargain from a multiple convicted felon. First they charge you the "Microsoft Hidden Tax", followed by the "Microsoft Sucker Tax".

      I believe it is like being mugged in the alley, and returning to show them the watch they forgot to take.

      There are BSD and GNU/Linux, plus, other OSes, in multitudes, for free, that provide genuine multi-processing, multi-tasking, with upto 200 open application windows in each of 20 desktops, and which are immune to the "114,000 Microsoft Virus Definitions".

      Only a fool would part with money and yet not receive any of those features. Pity the fool who would chide others for their choice of these freedoms. Check out 310 LiveCDroms at

      More competent than you'll ever see from Microsoft, because there is more labor, more passion invested in Open Source than the Greedy Evil Empire would ever expend, in it's campaign to extend, embrace, extinguish.
    • Silence as loud as Thunder,1895,2086423,00.asp?kc=EWEWEMNL012207EP29A

      Who says lightening never strikes the same
      place twice?
      Ole Man
  • Non-security hot fixes

    include minor changes like changes in local Daylight Savings Time to annoying bugs that have been with XP for years and MS never bothered to fix (one in particular I get is in Windows Explorer, where if the left pane refreshes itself you get seven or eight "Desktop" icons in a row, all with different icons, and with no way to refresh the pane other than closing the program and losing your place). So let's hope there aren't too many changes on DST and that you can live with the non-security bugs.
    Michael Kelly
    • It is maybe a recognition that Microsoft is losing...

      ... control in the consumer and domestic space. This extended support does not apply to XP Pro so they presumably think that they can force buinesses on to Vista (which seems odd given W2K's extended grip).

      I cannot think of any reason to extend XP Home. With XP MCE it is a relatively new version of XP so maybe they are obliged to give it the usual 7 years and XP Home just got dragged along. One other possibility is that XP Home machines used for gaming will be around longer if their owners switch to games consoles and have no pressing need to upgrade the PC to Vista.
      • Can you actually take the time to read

        >>As a result of the change, announced on January 24, Microsoft now provides the same number of years of support for business and consumer versions of Windows XP.
        That is XP Pro.
        Forcing upgrades is Apple's deal. Think you can get any support for OS 8 in 2010?
        Give the FUD a rest, please.
        • Does it matter?

          The only issue I see is maybe product activation. At least with other versions I can still run say Window 3.1 or DOS. I actually do that still, I have some games I play in DOS for nostalgia reasons and these games don't work or work well in NTVDM or WOW. Microsoft does support those operating systems but do I care? Not one bit!

          Now in 2015 will I want XP or Windows 2000 for that matter to run old games? I'm sure I will and hopefully XP activation will be retired then. There's always W2K with not activation though.
          • If you want old-DOS compatability

            Try "dosbox", a GPL solution available at

            It has ports for Windows (various versions), linux, BeOS, etc. Running old DOS games is a cakewalk for it. Here's the real kicker. I had install floppies from Chessmaster 3000, which I couldn't get working in WINE under linux. Chessmaster 3000 runs under Win3.1 or Win95. I installed dosbox in linux, then I installed Windows 3.1 under dosbox *UNDER LINUX*. Then I successfully installed Chessmaster 3000 into Windows 3.1 under dosbox *UNDER LINUX*. It works just like old times... Chessmaster 3000 stills slaughters me mercilessly<g>.

            I know it sounds redundant, but try the Windows port of dosbox for old DOS games that don't work in a regular "Windows dosbox".
            Knorthern Knight
        • I missed that bit.

          The story now makes more sense.
  • Am I missing something?

    Why does a company about to release a brand new OS in one week, suddenly announce extended support for the product that they would like that brand new OS to replace: XP vs. Vista?

    If I'm the Vista marketing department and I work on commission, I have just potentially lost a healthy chunk of change.

    Or, has MSFT thrown in the towel saying that "they too" think Vista is the complete dog that the pundits have said it is. Time to release Vista SP2? SP1's already complete.
    • Marketing

      Simple reason. They know people aren't going to just jump to Vista. Especially in business. Some businesses still run old operating systems even after upgrading to the latest and greatest for legacy application that have no upgrade paths. Upset businesses aren't a good thing anytime.

      Then there are users who have older PCs. Many of which run XP but can't run Vista. These PCs will stay around a long time. There is history to prove this. Look how long Windows 9X hung around and it's still on many PCs that aren't capable of running XP. From a marketing point of view this is smart. No sale is lost as the older PCs can't run Vista. Keeping that customer happy using XP would be smart. Then next computer they buy will be a PC with Vista and that is a sale instead of maybe a Mac and a sale for Apple.